Actions and Beliefs - Letters to the Prison
From the series Letters to the Prison
Hello, everyone! We’d like to encourage you today: Have a conversation with God. You don’t need a special set of words. Just speak to him about what’s going on in your heart. Even if you’re angry with him or scared of him, tell him. Approach God humbly and honestly and he will meet you there. Probably in a surprising way. And be ready to listen! The best way to find out what God has to say is to read his Word, which is why we study the Bible. It’s also why we’re taking such a long tour through John 8 since it records a lengthy conversation between Jesus our Lord and the Jews at the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem.
We’re finding out that it’s not enough to hear what Jesus says and believe him. We must also abide in his word (John 8:31). We must live according to what Jesus says.
Many of the Jews listening to Jesus at this time think that because they are biologically descended from Abraham (the father of the Jewish nation -Genesis chapters 11-25) they are automatically children of God, so what they do doesn’t matter. Last week, we saw Jesus beginning to tear that false assumption apart. Look what he says:
- I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” -John 8:38
Once again, Jesus is claiming that God is his father. This is nothing new. However, what is new is the implication that the Jews he is speaking to have a different father. Since their hope is in their biological connection to Abraham, they naturally reply:
- “Abraham is our father” -John 8:39a
But Jesus has a scathing correction:
- Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works your father did.” -John 8:39b-41a
Jesus is accusing the Jews of not acting according to their beliefs. They believe they are children of Abraham --and they are, biologically—but Jesus is saying that’s not what matters. What matters is that they “do the works Abraham did.” What works did Abraham do? He trusted God and obeyed him, for one thing. Genesis 22 records a profound example of this. He also did what God told him to do (Gen. 12:1-5 is one major example). Abraham also honored God’s messengers (Genesis 18). The Jews listening to Jesus, however, did not. Jesus once again calls out their murderous intent (John 8:40). Jesus also once again claims to be speaking the truth from God… an act for which the Jews want to kill him. So, clearly the Jews’ motives and intentions do not match up with Abraham, their father. So, they’re claiming to be one thing and doing another. Their walk doesn’t match their talk.
This is why Jesus accuses them of having a different father… and this is also why this conversation between Jesus and the Jews in Jerusalem is about to take a vicious turn. Until next week! We love you. Keep praying for us as we keep praying for you.